Monday, March 31, 2008

RGS 20 Restoration Coming Along

As readers can see on this thread, the restoration of Rio Grande Southern engine 20, donated to the Colorado Railroad Museum last year by the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club, continues at Strasburg. In February, steam mechanics fashioned the door sheet (photos), the part of the boiler that forms the back end in the cab. The door hatch has been cut and the door cover itself will be put on later.
Seeing an old, storied steamer come back to life will indeed be magic! I imagine that the museum will likely put her in service next to D&RGW #346, which will be something special, but I also hope the museum will seek and find opportunities for RGS #20 to make her way beyond their loop to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad or the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic. It's quite possible that D&RGW #315, RGS #20 and mudhen D&RGW #463 could all be steaming soon on the same rails at the same time. Richardson, Perry and the other early preservationists would be proud, if not a little envious of the railfans to live in these coming days. Without their efforts, we would certainly lack many of the steamers and much of the rails to run them on. The years of 2008 and 2009 look very promising indeed.

Raining Rocks

Ah, springtime in the Rockies! Bring your rebar umbrella and your hardhat; it's rocking outside.

Notices of delay like this one is going to be a repeating theme over the next couple of months as crews struggle to clear errant rock slides from the right of way. The melting snows release their water and it flows down between the cracks in the rocks. When the water re-freezes into ice, the odd expansive property of freezing water works to push on both sides of the fracture, sometimes popping off the side of the mountain and falling on whatever (or whoever) is below.

It's the main way that the mountains lose those stubborn winter pounds in time for summer. The rest is just water weight from the snowpack. It's above average this season, which means an opportunity for some good water shots, especially on the western slope--if you can afford a fill-up. Use a telephoto to pull in those rapids next to the rails. Be safe and have fun!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

LC&S Owners Block EPA Pump Plan

The EPA's work to alleviate water pressure in the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel has just hit a potential snag. Leadville, Colorado & Southern co-owner Ken Olsen, also the Lake County Commissioner who originally warned of the potential disaster, is now demanding that the EPA compensate him for an easement of land needed to complete the relief project.
"They are just absurd in what they are wanting to do," said Stephanie Olsen who
co-owns the tourist train, Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad, with her
husband. "This is taking property without just compensation." Click here for more from
It's the opinion of this blog that unless the Olsen's want to become very unpopular for putting their interest above the community's, they should just let the EPA dig. It's one thing to make a point about landowner's rights, quite another to put the community at risk because you want a few bucks. The point has been made and they should let it go ahead. Or were Leadville's citizens not in that great a danger to begin with?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Opening Days For Colorado Railroads This Summer

Here's an alphabetical listing of Colorado's scenic and tourist railroads and the scheduled date of beginning summer operation schedules.

Please contact the railroads via their web sites for more information or to book tickets. The announced dates have already been added to the Colorado Railroads Calendar.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring Is Here! Where Did I Put My Camera?

Spring is finally here. With warmer weather comes warmer rails. This video seems to be a favorite and it fits the spring mood. Enjoy!

Time to buy more tape, more DVD-Rs and charge up the batteries. Opening days are not far away at all!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Announcing the Special Events Calendar

"When is Railfest this year?"

"What chapter meetings are coming up in the next month?"

"My railfan friend is coming to Colorado 6 months from now. I wonder what we could do together?"

One of the biggest challenges for the railfan in Colorado is to keep up with all the different events and activities that they can be a part of. Colorado Railroads blog now has its own public Google calendar to give you one place to look for special events and activities conducted by the railroads and organizations in Colorado!

If you want to stay up to date on the latest happenings, click the Events tab the events tab at the top of the page, or you can bookmark this entry and come back often. If you are a Google Calendar user, you can add it directly to your own calendar. Just click the (+ Google) button below the calendar.

Update 3/21:
If you want to put this up at your own site, here's your links:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Slightly OT: Dog Found in Railroad Tunnel Now On the Mend

A lot of railfans have picked up on this story about Hogan, a dog in the Utah desert taking shelter in the Hogan tunnel. She was rescued and is receiving the care she desperately needed. A heartwarming story and one that's worth a slight departure from Colorado Railroads.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rare Power - Alaska RR GP-49s En Route To Texas

The Alaska Railroad sold its GP-49s for a second life in Texas and they recently made their way through Denver on a BNSF "dead in consist" move. Kevin Morgan has the pictures and the specs on these one-offs over at According to, these two are the only ones going to Specialized Rail Transport in Houston. The rest have already been sold.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Steam Engine Moved to Royal Gorge Route

The Royal Gorge Route owners and former operators of the Georgetown Loop Railroad relocated their steam equipment left on Georgetown Loop proper, Shay engine Number 8, down to the Royal Gorge Route in Canon City. As there's a difference in gauge, it may take some time in getting a third rail laid down to Parkdale, the western terminus of today's Royal Gorge Route.

That must have been an interesting sight coming down I-25!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Man Allegedly Throws Chair At Train, Lands In County Jail

Blogger is slow this morning, probably a slashdot effect. If you can read this on the site, it may be letting up. You can avoid this aggravation by signing up for the feed by e-mail (use the form at the end of this post) or by adding it to your feed reader.

Sunday morning, in Arvada, 28-year-old Alan Cardenas of Aurora was accused of throwing a chair at a passing train. The train was either on the BNSF branch to Golden or the UP Moffat Tunnel main line near the point where the two lines diverge. The initial report of a rifle being fired at a train prompted police to close down the area, including a portion of Sheridan Boulevard just north of I-76. The police interviewed the man and later arrested him when they found debris of a chair next to the tracks.

There is no reported indication which train was involved (freight, Ski Train or Amtrak) or whether the chair was actually thrown or placed in the path of the train. The charge against Cardenas is throwing missiles and also endangering public transportation.

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